Last edited: December 06, 2004


Louisiana Upholds Sodomy Law, Rejects Employment Non-Discrimination Bill

Datalounge, May 24, 2001

BATON ROUGE, LA — On Wednesday, the Louisiana Senate voted down a bill that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Associated Press reports. On Thursday, the House narrowly defeated a measure that would legalize anal and oral sex between consenting adults, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.

The employment non-discrimination measure was sponsored by Don Cravins, D-Arnaudville, who was determined to push for its passage despite any political fallout that he might face as a result. "If this is the end of a political career, then that’s OK... I’ve had some people tell me if you’re thinking of running for governor, and I am, then this is going to do you in. So be it if that’s the case," he said.

Cravins’ bill would have outlawed discrimination in hiring, firing or promotion on the basis of "actual or perceived sexual orientation."

Cravins was told by some legislators that they believed in the principles of the measure but felt that a yes vote would cost them political support. The bill was defeated by a margin of 21-14. "When the day comes when I believe something but I can’t vote for it, that’s the day I resign from this body," he said. "If we fail today, we’ll be back next year," he added.

The following day the House came within six votes of passing a bill that would overturn the state’s sodomy law. The bill was relatively simple, stating "sexual acts committed by and between consenting adults in private shall not be deemed as a crime against nature."

During the debate, Republican Tony Perkins passed around a letter by Parks Superintendent Gene Young, who complained that overturning the law would make it harder for him to stop gay sex in state parks. "Our concern is that , in its current form, [the bill] allows such activity in ‘private,’ but does not define ‘private,’" said Young in the letter.

Rep. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, said that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a public restroom. "What you’re concerned about is whether you can watch it," quipped Richmond in reply.

Danny Martiny, R-Kenner, spoke in favor of the bill and decried that much of the opposition was based on religious views. "A lot of you have told me in private, ‘Man, I can’t vote for this bill — those religious people back home will kill me,’" he said. Martiny said that the law is not about gay rights exclusively, noting that heterosexuals could be prosecuted under the current statute.

At one time, all 50 states had a prohibition against some kinds of sexual acts on the books. After Minnesota recently struck down its sodomy law, only 15 states still do.

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